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Telephone Support Boosts Cancer-Screening Rates

Calls increase breast, cervical and colorectal screenings in low-income and minority women

MONDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Telephone support can increase rates of breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening among minority and low-income women, according to a study published in the April 18 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

During the 18-month study, Allen J. Dietrich, M.D., of Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H., and colleagues assigned 1,413 women from 11 New York City community and migrant health centers to either an intervention group that received an average of four calls from prevention care managers, or a control group that received usual care.

The researchers found that the intervention group's participation rate increased from 58 to 68 percent for mammography, from 71 to 78 percent for Pap testing and from 39 to 63 percent for colorectal screening. They found that the control group's participation rate decreased from 60 to 58 percent for mammography, was unchanged for Pap testing and increased from 39 to 50 percent for colorectal screening.

"The next steps are to focus on translation and sustainability of this evidence-based intervention," the authors conclude. "Future challenges include the identification of real-world infrastructures that can provide a sustainable base for prevention care management. The intervention needs further refinement to increase its efficiency; perhaps call centers and administrative claims data could be used to identify women who need screening and to evaluate their adherence to recommendations."

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